SEATTLE – Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Thursday said fourth-quarter profit rose on strong demand for laptops, personal computers and servers but the world's largest software maker forecast revenue for the current quarter below Wall Street analysts' estimates.
Shares fell 2.4 percent in after-hours trade.
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft said it had a net profit of $3.70 billion, or 34 cents per share, in the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, compared with a net profit of $2.69 billion, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose to $10.16 billion from $9.29 billion.
Analysts, on average, had forecast Microsoft to post a net profit of 28 cents per share on $10.16 billion in revenue, according to forecasts compiled by Reuters Estimates.
"It's hard to believe that they could come with figures as big as the ones from companies such as Exxon, but they did it," said Fred Burke, a fund manager at Johnson Lemon Asset Management in Washington, who owns shares of Microsoft.
"There's a lot of investors in this market who think the company won't be able to sustain this type of performance in the future and that is why we are seeing such a lukewarm response to the results," Burke said.
PC makers and Asian component manufacturers have reported healthy demand for PCs, the main driver of sales for Microsoft's Windows, Office and Server software products.
The company expects to earn between 29 cents and 31 cents a share for the current quarter, on revenue of $9.7 billion to $9.8 billion. Analysts are expecting earnings of 30 cents per share and revenue of $9.95 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.
For the full year ending in June of 2006, Microsoft expects revenue of $43.7 billion to $44.5 billion and earnings of $1.27 per share to $1.32 per share. Analysts are expecting revenue of $43.65 billion and earnings of $1.30 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Microsoft shares dropped 64 cents to $25.80 on the Inet electronic brokerage, down from their Nasdaq close of $26.44.